The memoir of Elie Wiesel and how it maintained Jewish identity This was crucial to the Nazis' attempt to dehumanize Jews: a number on a list has significantly less deep human overtones than a name. Wiesel and the other detainees were "told to roll up our left sleeves and file past the table," according to "In Night." "A certain Dr. Mengele had the task of deciding who would live and who would die. His decision was based solely on racial criteria." He conducted experiments on prisoners' eyes to determine their ancestry. If they were deemed "pure" Aryan, they were allowed to live; if not, they were killed immediately.
Wiesel preserved his Jewish identity by refusing to join any of the groups being formed at Auschwitz. If he had joined a gang, he would have been forced to kill others like himself, which would have destroyed any hope of survival. Instead, he kept quiet and worked in the library where he could read without being noticed. "I wanted to live even though I knew that the only way to do so was by working for a better future for myself and for others like me," he wrote.
After the war ended, Wiesel continued to work with Holocaust survivors and help them rebuild their lives. In 1949, he founded the Wiesel Institute for Human Rights to promote awareness of humanitarian issues worldwide. The institute now operates out of New York's Lincoln Center.
Wiesel published his autobiography in 1958.
What was Elie Wiesel's background? Elie Wiesel was born on September 30, 1928, in Sighet, Romania, and studied Jewish religious education before his family was deported to Nazi death camps during WWII. Wiesel survived and went on to write the critically acclaimed book Night. He died on July 2, 2016.
Wiesel was a secular Jew who did not observe Shabbat or other Jewish rituals. But he said that his survival of the Holocaust made religious faith possible for him later in life. "I had been brought up without any belief in God; I knew nothing about Judaism," he wrote in his 1998 memoir, Night.
Wiesel received many awards for his writings, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.
He married Lucia Rose Tsemel in 1951. They had two children together: Michaela and Raphael.
Wiesel became a US citizen in 1978. He lived in New York City most of his life. In 1994, he published All Things Shining which dealt with topics such as forgiveness, redemption, and the search for meaning in life.
Wiesel was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2014.
He died at the age of 87 after suffering from cancer.
Wiesel is buried in a cemetery near Prague.
At the start of Night, Eliezer's identity is that of an innocent boy, a Talmud student, and a faithful Jew. However, the concentration camp experience robs him (and his fellow Jewish prisoners) of their identities.
Upon returning to his hometown of Buczacz after the war, Elie finds it destroyed and its Jews either dead or expelled. The only thing left behind are the few books they could carry with them as they fled from the Nazis. This is how Elie comes to know about God and His commandments through these books. He realizes that although he survived the death camps, his family didn't make it out alive and this causes him to suffer from depression.
In order to bring justice to the victims of the Holocaust, Elie decides to create a new life for himself by adopting an English name (Elie Wiesel). With this new identity, he hopes that people will forget what happened to his family during the war.
Throughout his life, Elie continues to fight against anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred. By telling his story and giving speeches around the world, he aims to keep the memory of the millions of Jews who died in the Holocaust alive today.
Important Facts In May 1944, Elie Wiesel and his family were sent to Auschwitz. He was chosen for forced labor and imprisoned in the Monowitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. After the war, Wiesel was an outspoken advocate for remembering and learning from the Holocaust. In 1976, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
In Nazi-occupied Paris, Wiesel studied at a French public school while his parents worked as lawyers. In 1945, when he turned 13, they moved to Israel where his father took a job with the Israeli government. Wiesel tried to continue his education, but when his parents fell on hard times, he had to help them by working as a messenger for a living water company.
In 1950, his father died, and Wiesel decided to quit school and work to support his mother and sister. They moved to New York City where his mother found work as a seamstress. However, due to lack of money, Wiesel could only attend elementary school.
He spent most of his time reading books from the library and playing piano. Wiesel also wrote letters to members of Congress and other leaders asking them not to trade arms with countries that would use those weapons against others. He wanted people to know what happened during the Holocaust so it wouldn't happen again.
In 1958, Wiesel joined the army.